Joseph Carolan – EA, MSPA, CPC, APA is the CEO and Pension Actuary for Evergreen Retirement Plan Consulting, LLC
Joseph started in retirement plans in 2001, when he was 19 years old, after getting his 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Arizona State University. He started working with DC plans (401(k), Profit Sharing, Money Purchase, 403(b), ESOP, etc.) before transitioning to DB plans in 2005 (Cash Balance, DB Pensions and DB/DC combos).
During this time, he received the Accredited Pension Administrator (APA) designation from the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), Certified Pension Consultant (CPC), Member of the Society of Pension Actuaries (MSPA) designations from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and the Enrolled Actuary (EA) federal license from the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries of the IRS. Keep in mind; some of these tests for the actuarial portion have only a 15% pass rate! That is why there are just 3,500 in the US (about 800 work on small plans). Joseph is the only person in the entire State of Washington in private practice that is both an EA and CPC. He did all of this by the time he was 30.
Although actuarial knowledge is not necessary for plans like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, ESOPs, etc., because of the study material, he has a better understanding of the rules regarding these plans since many rules about 401(k)s overlap with DB plans. Joseph had to memorize and interpret:
- ERISA (the base of law all retirement plans derive from)
- Internal Revenue Code and Regulations
- DOL code and regulations
- Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) code and regulations pertaining to retirement plans
Additionally, he had to get acquainted with all legislation that touched on retirement plans within the last nearly 40 years. Most 401(k) only plan administrators have never even read these laws, code and regulations much less can interpret them all.
His experience includes:
- Administering, reviewing and training employees on thousands of plans from the mundane to the extremely complex.
- Serving his own clients with a high level of customer service and technical skill. His clients include many private firms throughout the region.
- Speaking on Defined Benefit and Cash Balance topics at NIPA’s Annual Forum & Expo (NAFE) to a national audience.
- Providing audit assistance, consulting and training for his clients and other TPA practices without an actuary.
- Outsourcing his actuarial services to TPAs that do not have actuaries on staff for the DB and Cash Balance case load throughout the country.
- Reviewing exam module and questions for ASPPA‘s CPC and DB Administrator exams.
- Speaking to other actuaries about technical retirement plan topics through ASPPA’s Benefits Council of the Great Northwest.
- Speaking to and consulting CPAs, Enrolled Agents and financial advisors on plan types for their clients.
He has been applauded by clients and other professionals int he industry for his attention to detail, his ability to jump into take-over cases and quickly grasp the thoughts of the prior actuary or retirement TPA, his knowledge of how to improve plans, and his willingness to work extremely hard for his plans to be perfect in both DB and DC contexts.
Kim Carolan – CEBS, is the Founder and CFO of Evergreen Retirement Plan Consulting, LLC
Kim has worked in the industry since 2011 in all aspects of the third-party administration (TPA) and actuarial consulting business from 401(k) plan administration, Defined Benefit and Cash Balance actuarial valuations, marketing, sales and management of a practice. She understands complexity of being a small business owner herself and crafting the perfect retirement plan strategy for businesses. Retirement plans are complex, and her passion is to be a catalyst for clients and advisors making every aspect of sponsoring a plan as streamlined as possible.
Her education and experience includes a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business from Arizona Christian University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) (almost completed) and professional designations including the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), Group Benefits Associate (GBA) and Retirement Plans Associate (RPA). She worked in fundraising and tutoring while finishing her degree. Since then, she graduated in 2004 and worked further in the non-profit world doing board relations, continuing education event planning, public relations and marketing. Because of this experience, she has led the sales efforts for Evergreen and enjoys helping advisors craft their education and marketing efforts for retirement plans.
Kim loves working on design, consultation, getting her hands dirty fixing messy plans, service and process improvements. We find many plans where corners have been cut in both benign and malignant plan issues and can find ways to improve every plan.
In her spare time, Kim enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, yoga, gardening, playing the piano (she was once a Piano Performance Major), singing and chasing around two wild children (5 and almost 2-years-old, respectively) with Joseph.
Cory Reynolds – CPC, QPA, QKA is the Vice President of Client Services at Evergreen Retirement Plan Consulting, LLC
Cory graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business specializing in Finance and Human Resource Management and from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
Cory began working in the retirement plan industry straight out of college in 1996. With over 20 years of experience, he’s had the opportunity to work on a variety of qualified plans including 401(k) plans, ESOPs, defined benefit plans, cash balance plans, and combination plans.
During his career, Cory has worked to stay current with all the changes to retirement plans through receiving the following designations: Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA), Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA) and CPC from ASPPA. These designations, coupled with year of experience, have given him the tools critical to serving clients and providing the technical expertise essential to first-class plan administration and consulting services.
At Evergreen, his primary objective is to deliver responsive service and quality work to our diverse group of clients. He works alongside tax advisors, financial advisors, and the Plan Sponsors to make sure each plan is compliant, efficient and designed well to meet the client’s goals. He understands no two clients are the same and neither are their retirement plan needs. As a result, he regularly consults with the Plan Sponsor and their team of advisors to discuss plan design and the client’s goals to make sure their needs are being met.
Cory grew up here in Washington State and has spent most of his life here. Having a local, accessible, retirement plan consultant is invaluable, and he enjoys meeting face-to-face with clients and advisors. Retirement plans can be complex and intimidating for many, and his goal is to simplify things where possible to provide peace of mind for all stakeholders.
Harmony Stephens is a Pension Analyst at Evergreen Retirement Plan Consulting, LLC
Harmony is our newest plan specialist working up from administrative tasks to Plan Document and amendment drafting to 401(k) administration (compliance tests and Form 5500 preparation) since 2015. She is currently pursuing her Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation from the ASPPA and eager to earn more designations afterwards. Harmony enjoys learning and performing about all aspects of 401(k) plan work.
Harmony is a mother of three and was a military spouse (her husband now works for the federal government instead). Living abroad in Germany with little children while her husband was deployed adds to her grit and determination in all aspects of her life and shines through her work at Evergreen.